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With its diverse climates and natural topography, the west coast is full of many of the most stellar birding spots in the United States. From coastal forests to desert scrublands and everything in between, there are plenty of hotspots across California, Oregon, and Washington that will excite even the most seasoned avian enthusiast.

Read on for our list of the five best birding spots on the west coast – all guaranteed to reward even casual passers-by with stunning sights of our feathered friends!

Point Reyes State Marine Reserve, California

Point Reyes National Seashore is the perfect destination for an epic birding adventure. This global Important Bird Area (IBA) is just 35 miles north of San Francisco, making it accessible yet remote.

The birding opportunities here are extraordinary - approximately 470 bird species have been seen throughout the park! If you're lucky, you might even spot a rare bird that's way off course during one of its migrations.

What's more, with fishing, kayaking, horseback riding, and plenty of other exciting activities available to guests, you can fill your days with everything from bird watching to outdoor adventures!

Point Lobos State Marine Reserve, California

Point Lobos is an oasis for birds and birders alike! Home to varied habitats like forests, coastal scrub, meadows, and rocky cliffs, it's no surprise that this park off the Central Coast is well-known for its inspiring bird photography opportunities.

If you often catch yourself daydreaming of a birding adventure away from the hordes, then look no further than Point Lobos. Its rocky shores and islets offer up plenty of beauties like wandering tattlers, surfbirds, black turnstones, and of course, the delightful black oystercatchers that happily nest in this paradise.

So take in the spectacular beauty of Point Lobos to treat yourself to some breathtaking avian eye candy!

Boiler Bay Wayside, Oregon

If you’re embarking on a birding excursion along the west coast, then Boiler Bay in Oregon should definitely be at the top of your list. With a stunning range of bird life on display year-round, Boiler Bay offers a bird watcher the perfect platform from which to spot something special.

Birders often report seeing rare species like black-footed albatross and long-tailed jaeger, as well as more common bird visitors such as red-throated loon, black oystercatcher, or ancient murrelet. Not to mention that you might even catch a glimpse of resident or migrating gray whales!

So grab your binoculars and head to Boiler Bay to experience one of the best bird spots on the West Coast for yourself!

Skagit Wildlife Area, Washington

The Skagit Wildlife Area offers birders a world of excitement and adventure with its island shoreline, marshes, tidal mudflats, forested uplands, and even some agricultural land.

Head up to the Samish Unit near Bayview State Park for an unparalleled birding experience. Here you can find Gyrfalcon (an elusive but regular visitor), Northern Harrier, along with all of the most iconic birds of prey. But that’s not all—you might also spot Short-eared Owl hunting in the fields during winter and a wide variety of waterfowl such as Trumpeter Swan or Tundra Swan.

Trust us. You don’t want to miss out on Skagit Wildlife Area on your west coast birding adventure!

Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Mount Rainier is a stunning reminder that nature holds the power to awe and inspire. This 14,410-foot active volcano beckons adventurers who seek its summit. While climbers travel with great excitement, birders also flock to the national park for unique birding opportunities, as each elevation offers something different.

Reach this birding mecca in late April or even July, and avoid weekend crowds by planning strategically. Those who birdwatch their way up and through will find stunning species like the Band-tailed Pigeon, Sooty Grouse, and Red-breasted Sapsucker. You can also get familiar with many bird species with characterful names like the Gray Jay, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Steller’s Jay, and Chestnut-backed Chickadee.

Experience the natural wonders of Mount Rainier as you bird spot your way through this majestic destination.

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